Sunday, December 24, 2006

Short Christmas Message

I know most of you are away from a computer right now and more invested in family and friends, which you should. However I would like to personally wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (and if you celebrate something else around this time, I hope that you have a Happy Holiday as well). Right now I'm in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, a city 1 hour north of Toronto. I'm with my boyfriend's family and they are so cool. I love coming by to see them. Today is Christmas Eve Day (the day before Christmas Eve) so today we're just going to see some friends, wrap some presents, and bake some cookies.

And of course knit a bit. Today we'll be working on this hat that my boyfriend finished back in September. He lost hope in it after trying it on because it was too small. I told him it was very easy to fix and that I will help him. Well that was 3 months ago. He hasn't knit anything since (he doesn't like to knit more than one thing at a time). So now that my boyfriend, who use to be an enthusiastic knitter is feeling down on his skill, I must now rescue him to ensure that he is as fanatical about knitting (if not more) than me. I'm doing this for our future, people!

Anyway, from Cananda, Season's Greetings, Happy New Year, Feliz Navidad (Espanol), Feliz Natal (Portugues), Joyeaux Noel (Francais), and Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Tips

There are only 5 days left before Christmas. Are you ready? I know many of you are knitting Christmas presents this year (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate this year) and maybe the pressure is getting to you. Here are my knitting holiday tips.

1) Instead of giving everyone you know a handknit item, reserve them for special individuals or for someone you know would appreciate it. Nothing is more of an ego booster to a knitter than a receipient of their knitted goodness actually appreciating and then wearing the garment they've knitted.

2) Keep items small. Think hats, mittens, toys, baby booties. If you must knit something big, knit it for someone close to you like your mother or husband and make sure you have plenty of time to do it (yeah this would have been more useful 6 months ago).

3) Don't cry and complain about knitting for others. You placed it on yourself to knit 10 scarves with lacey details for all of your family.

4) If you're one to ruin a holiday because you're more concerned about getting everything done in time for the big day, you're missing the point of this holiday season. This is the time to relax and enjoy family and friends. If you find yourself overwhelmed, step back from the knitting, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and chill out with some loved ones.

5) Some great last minute gifts (and I mean the day before) are baby items or really small ornaments to hang on a tree. These wrist warmers are also great and can be made in many colors to fit everyone's tastes.

6) If you are half way done through a project and you know you won't finish it in time for Christmas, go out to the store and buy something else for that person. They don't have to know that you are knitting a sweater (or rather that you failed to get it to them in time for Christmas). By gifting them something else, you'll have more time to finish that sweater/hat/mitten/whatever and can get it to them next Christmas or for their birthday.

7) Instead of knitting for your family and friends, why not give your knitted goodness to people that actually need it. The Salvation Army, Good Will, or any other local charities in your area are a good place to start. International relief organizations would except your gifts as well.

I hope that these tips helped you guys put things more into perspective. Remember that there is more to Christmas than knitting. There's house cleaning and cooking too. So when Christmas day comes, if you have everyone's present all wrapped under the tree ready to go, great. But if you didn't finish a sweater for your Aunt Mary or didn't have enough time to complete a hat for your mother, don't stress over it. Have an alcoholic beverage, relax with your family, and act like a kid again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cookies and Needles

So I know it is Tuesday but I wanted to tell you guys about my weekend. I baked some cookies:

The recipe is found here and they are called Jam Thumbprint Cookies and they are delicious. Though the recipe calls for raspberry and apricot jam, I also used some blackberry jam. And if you don't like any of those, you can substitute with your favorite jam like orange marmalade or strawberry. The recipe is super easy but the result is very hollywood (at least in my opinion). I can't stop eating them.

I also managed to finish the second baby sweater for my co-worker.

This and the smaller version shall both be delivered this Thursday.

I have finally started a sock for my mother.

I'm using Elisabeth Lavold Silky Wool in a deep eggplant. I like the yarn but I'm not sure if the stitch pattern I've chosen would stand out. I know I don't want to do a plain stockinette stitch mainly because I'm craving for something more complicated and fun. I'm thinking cables but not a common stitch (I've done enough of the divide some stitches in half and switch them on the needle. Very nice but very boring). Any suggestions?

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Finally Over!!!

So Wednesday I had my last final for the semester. I didn't get my report card but I got enough feedback from my teachers to know that I past all of my classes this semester. One wasn't so hot of a grade ("C") but it was a general education requirement and a "C" is the minimum you need to past the class. I could care less right now because everything is done and I could now focus on the Christmas knitting.

But before we enter that realm of craziness, I present to you the semester socks:

Made out of Trekking XL, I used Clover Bamboo size 1 US needles. I call them "Semester socks" because they took me this whole semester to make them. I really only knitted these socks in 2 classes and sometimes I brought it to work with me but more often than not, I was in class with these socks. Nothing special. Simple stockinette with a simple pattern (I got help from this book). About the colors not matching, I could care less about that too. When it comes to self striping in socks, it doesn't matter to me that they don't match. I'm more happy that I have a pair of hand knitted socks.

Sock Woes

So I love handknit socks. I've never knitted them with anything but wool so I don't know how other fibers would feel on my feet. Though in the winter time wool socks are superior to cotton, I find that if you wear wool socks in a work environment where you are walking and moving about a lot, your feet start to sweat and I don't like how the socks feel on my feet anymore. Does this ever happen to you guys?

So I've decided that it doesn't make sense to wear wool socks in doors. They are best suited for frolics in the snow or when you're going to be at home relaxing. My socks are special to me and I like to wear them as long as I can, you know.

Stripes Again

Do you think that changing the stripe sequence on the sleeves of this sweater is a good idea? Here's a pic:

This is the second sweater I'm making for my co-worker. I have another week to finish this but I think I'll be done with it by Saturday (If I stay faithful to it that is). The reason why I changed the stripe sequence is because I had to weave in so many ends for the body and I didn't feel that all those weaved in ends would look good in a small sleeve for a small toddler sweater. In other words, I got lazy.

Christmas Knitting

I know a lot of you guys are giving handknit gifts this year. I love knitting for my family. It gives me an opportunity to be creative with my gift giving. Plus it keeps me away from crazy holiday shoppers in the mall. I love that I don't have to go to a busy, crowded mall for gifts. I just head over to my quiet, close to home LYS, shop for yarn at my leisure, and actually have a conversation with other shoppers about things that I care about, like yarn and knitting. Holiday knitting can be stressful but I think because the whole process of knitting, from buying the yarn, picking a project to match the recipient, to knitting and finishing the item is relaxing.

Unfortunately, I won't be home for Christmas. I'm going to my boyfriend's parents in Canada to celebrate. I'm no wear near done with the knitting (3 more baby sweaters, and something for my parents) and Christmas is only a week and some days away. Seeing that I'm going home in January 2007, I figured I could just give my presents to my family then. That way I'll have more time to knit them, less stress this holiday, and as a bonus, I'll be able to see their reactions to the gifts. I'm sure they'll appreciate them (at least in front of my face!).

So that's all for now. As always, happy knitting!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Thanks for all the comments about my sweater. I love making sweaters. No matter how long they take me (usually 2 months), I still love the fact that I have a garment that I could wear and not just put around my neck or on my head. What pushes me to finish a large project like a sweater is the day that I could actually wear the sweater.

No that is not a picture of me but that is how I will look for the next few days. This week is finals week and so if you don't hear from me in a couple days, you know why. You can find me under a sea of books, papers, pens, and of course my laptop.

Thankfully, this will all be over this Thursday.

Friday, December 08, 2006

CPH: Done

Here are some pictures of my finished CPH:




I'm very proud of this little number. It is the first cardigan I knitted for myself and the second sweater of the year (the first was a purple disaster back in April). The sweater is incredibly warm. I sewed on the buttons on Wednesday night and have been wearing it ever since. I chose yellow buttons because they were so cheerful and and matched the color of the sweater very well. After 2 months I finally have a cardigan that I can see myself wearing everyday this winter (or at least till I make another sweater in another 2 months).

Now I'm off to the Christmas knitting. I still haven't started my mother's socks nor the sweaters for my twin nephews. If I have time, I might even through in another sweater for my 6 month niece (I made a sweater for her in June but hadn't gifted it yet and I believe it's too small for her now) and possibly some Fetchings to go with my little sister's pink wavy scarf.

News Flash

Just to let you all know, the new Winter 2006 edition of Knitty is out. I knew that it was bound to come out soon. Ever since December started I've been checking out the site several times a day. I haven't browsed the the site yet but I definetely will and probably tell you my favs and not so favorites in a later post.

As always, happy knitting, especially to those of you in very cold, snowy areas of the worlds.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No Clever Title

So I wanted to post yesterday but I forgot to take a picture of my wet CPH. Now it is in my apartment blocking (my boyfriend didn't like the fact that my wet sweater was on his dry floor). I don't have a picture of it but I did finish the actually knitting of my CPH. Now all there is to do is wait till it dries, sew on the buttons, and try it on. Can't wait!


Sunday was my best friend's birthday and she told me some exciting things about her career path. She has an associates in accounting and is working on a Bachelors. I'm so proud of her but when it came to my job report, it was dull. I told myself that I was going to continue school after my May 2007 graduation to get an MBA (that way I can defer my loan payments). I was thinking I could just stay in dull ass Michigan and keep working in the warehouse that I only make $8.50 in (great for a poor college student, not for a woman with a yarn addiction and a college degree). She has finally convinced me to stop downing myself and my abilities so I'm looking into getting a higher paying job in six months that requires me to use my skills like speaking Spanish.

Lately I haven't been practicing Spanish and they say if you don't use it, you'll loose it. My experiences traveling were valuable enough but they would more profitable to me if I could get paid to do what I love. So wish me luck on the job front. I think I'm going to start applying now and see what happens.


Now back to the knitting. When I blocked my CPH on Sunday, I realized how similiar wool is to my hair. Six month ago when I had the 'fro, I would sometimes try and go for a more put together look by slicking my hair back into a ponytail. Now for a neat ponytail, I had to go through a process in which I would wash my hair the night before, then put some hair product (usually coconut oil or gel) to keep my hair in place and then tie a cheap $1 satin scarf around head very tightly so that as I slept at night, my hair wouldn't look sloppy the next day. The next morning I would wake up to smooth shiny hair and feel proud that I actually took the time to fix my hair up that day.

Now how is wool like what I just described? Well, whenever you block a sweater, you have to make sure that it dries in the way you want it to and the only way to do it is by moving it around to the measurements you want it to be (length, bust, etc.). Once you have the shape you desire for the garment, you just leave it there to dry and try not to move it until it is dry. In other words, my hair is the sweater, when wet it is blocking, with some gel or coconut oil and a head scarf, I set my hair just like with a sweater you squish small or stretch it out for a certain look and keep it flat on the floor for stability in its drying season.

Just a thought I wanted to share with you guys.

Extra Tidbit

I almost forgot. Last post alot of you guys were interested in the yarn that I used for my "hooker socks" aka very tall socks. I bought it in August at Stitches Midwest in Chicago from the WEBS booth. The yarn is called "Primo" from Filatura di Crosa and I got a good deal on them (about $2.50 a ball). I'm also using some Debbie Bliss in the same weight and some left over black yarn from Argentina. Unlike many yarns that have muted, subdued colors, these Primo colors are vibrant and rich in pure color. The yarn is squish and soft and maybe they're at WEBS on sale. If you're interested in making something out of them, send them your money and get some lovely yarn. They yarn is basic but it's still cool to me. They are also machine washable so they can withstand pretty much anything.

That's it for now. It will be snowing all week in Michigan and the temperature will not get higher than 25 degrees. Man, I got finish my socks!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've Been Kniting

Last Tuesday (sorry for keeping this from you guys for so long), I got a wonderful package from KnitPicks filled with some Swish Superwash yarn in Red Pepper, Light Coral, Truffle, and Capri. Here's some yarn porn:

The Red Pepper and Light Coral will be baby sweaters for my coworker's daughters. He is paying me for this venture (yes!) and the Truffle and Capri will be gifts for my twin nephews. Here is a pick of what I accomplished with the Red Pepper and Light Coral this past weekend:

I love the result of how the stripes came out. Not too babyish but still very girly in my opinion. BTW, this yarn is soft, durable, and great for projects for children or something for yourself. Maybe in the future I'll purchase some more Swish for myself, after I get through the rest of my stash that is (I still have yarn from my trip to Argentina this past June that I have projects for that I haven't started yet).

Reality Check

So I did say that I wanted to make my mother a shawl a couple weeks ago but as we get closer and closer to Christmas, I'm realizing that a shawl won't be possible. In fact, I don't think I'll be done with the shawl by time January when my parents will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. So I was searching thru my stash and realized that I could make my mother something just as meaningful as a shawl and hopefully a bit more useful. This past August I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival and picked up some of this stuff for myself:

It's Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in an eggplant purple. I loved the color and felt that they could be some luxurious socks for me. But now I'm thinking my mother would love them even more (she's a luxurious kind of woman). So I'm making socks for my mother this year. The benefits are obvious: less time to knit them, less stress, and most importantly, I feel that my mother would appreciate a pair of handknit socks than a handknit shawl.

This does not mean that I won't be knitting this shawl. I've never knitted lace before and the shawl is very pretty. Maybe next summer when I have more time.

More Stripes

I think have an obsession with stripes. Here is some progress on these very tall socks I'm working on:

I love how simple the pattern is but I would prefer to call them "Hooker Socks" than "Very Tall Socks." The length of them remind me too much of hooker boots.

I don't have a clever way to finish this post today so I'll just say, "That's it for now!"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey and Yarn

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I'm pretty excited about today. Outside of summer vacation and Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year because I love food just as much as yarn. This Thanksgiving, I'm staying in Michigan and going over a friend's house for some good food and good times. Sadly, I won't be able to see my family, or eat the Guyanese food I've grown up with (Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America as were ruled by the British till 1965 when it got it's independence).

Right now I'm working on some baby sweaters for a coworker. Pictures later (my friend is asleep on the couch right now and I don't think he'll be happy to be awaken by my camera flash or clicking noises). The yarn is Knitpicks Swish in Red Pepper and Light Coral. At first I didn't like the colors together but knitted up in simple stripes changed my mind.

Anyway, I'm making a Green Bean Casserole. Truthfully, I've never even heard of this dish before until this year, while watching Food Network (one of my regular channels). Apparently it's as American as apple pie. It's pretty simple and easy to make but most people have told me that it taste great so I will attempt to be an American for a day and make this very traditional dish for a very traditional holiday.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This weekend was really rewarding. After a semester of weekends filled with homework, I finally didn't have much school work to do this past couple of days. So you know what I did, right? Knitted till my hands hurt, of course!

Sorry, I don't have pictures yet. I don't believe I've progressed enough on my CPH to actually post a picture of it. It would be like Deja Vu.

I also gifted these striped socks to my friend who jumped up and down and gave me a big hug out of excitment. In other words, it was a good reaction and one I did not expect. It only confirmed to me that knitting is just as exciting as all day football on Sunday.

This week is Thanksgiving (Thank God!). That means there is only 2 more weeks of school left, then finals. I'm so excited to be half way done my senior year. Maybe now that I'll have more time, I'll start on my mother's shawl. We'll have to see.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I had to tell you guys this before I skipped on over to class. Last night I had a dream that I was gifted some yarn. The yarn was lace weight and a dusty rose color. Throughout the dream I held it in my hands, wondering what to do with it. I woke up before I decided. What do you think this means? Just something to have fun with.

Weekend Plans

I just realized that I only have 3 more weeks of school. This weekend I will be working on my CPH as well as some socks for me. I haven't started my mom's shawl yet, but if I don't get it done by Christmas, I'm not worried. My parents will be celebrating their 25th wedding Anniversary and I could just gift it to her then.

As always, have a good weekend and Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Making Paper

I have to admit that there is a little part of me that likes to knit mainly to be recognized for my talents. I can't sing very well (even though some of my friends would argue that I do), I damn sure can't draw, and I definitely cannot do complicated math. Lately, though, my knitting has been noticed more by non-knitters. Whenever I tell them that I made whatever the object they are admiring, their eyes get wide with amazement and then they are really impressed. Whenever non-knitters compliment my knitwear, they always ask if I could make it for them. In the past I would have told them that my time is more valuable and that I would rather teach them. Most would retreat and say, "Nah, I don't have the time." or "It looks hard!" in which I would say, "Well then, I guess you wouldn't be getting a handknit hat/scarf/wristwarmer/whatever any time soon!"

My paradigm has since changed and now I'm knitting for money. A coworker saw a lavender hat I made a year ago and liked it so much that she told me she wanted one for her grandaughter. Another coworker saw me working on some socks last week and immediately wanted me to knit him 2 sweaters for his 2 girls. I'll show them the goods when they show me the money!

Now, this isn't the start of some multi-million dollar company (seeing that even if I quit school and do this professionally, I can only knit so much). I do, however, enjoy the fact that people are willing to pay me for something that I love to do anyway.

The Answer

Justine (as you can tell, she JUST got this blog started) in the comments of the last post told me that a friend of hers was a fanatical knitter (like the rest of us) and will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina this month. Remember in July when I talked about the knitting scene out there? Well I tried to contact you privately but that didn't work, so I will answer your question here. There are several yarn shops on this one street called Avenida Raul Scalabrini Ortiz. Here is the website of one of them.. I forget the cross street, however, on this website, if you click the word "Nosotros" you will see the address of this store, which is at the beginning of the yarn mecca. When your friend gets to Buenos Aires, I suggest she asks for directions to this store. If she finds that store, she will also find all the other yarn stores, which are packed close together. If she's a frugal traveler, the subway or bus is way cheap (about 80 centavos per ride) and pretty reliable (this is during the day, I don't know anything about the night schedule). In terms of language barriers, most of the people in Buenos Aires know some English but I would still suggest that your friend know some key knitting words (yarn-lana, cotton-algodon, needles-agujas) just so that she's not confused about what she's paying for and gets the best out of her experience.

Hopefully this information is helpful to your friend, Justine. To the rest of you, thank you for the advice on the future blocking of my CPH. I believe I will go with what Gray said. I'll iron the edges for sewing and then block the whole garment when it is finished.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Where Have I Been?

Well, I've been in school, friends. I know it's been a week. Truthfully, though, I wasn't really inspired to write last week. I'm in the last 5 weeks of school and it's getting pretty intense. If only I could stop procrastinating! Through it all, however, I have found time to knit. Here is what I've done:

Some socks for a very good friend of mine. She requested them and I had some yarn I didn't like for me but thought would be perfect for her. She said she wanted colorful, so I'm giving it to her. The yarn was bought last November while I was in Toronto, Canada visiting a friend. I think it was Regia, but don't quote me on that one.

These are very Fetching, if I don't say so myself. Again, these are going to a friend of mine (not the one that wanted the socks, though). She asked me for them back in September when it was still warm in Michigan. I finally got around to them last week. The yarn is Cascade 220 and the pattern is quick, easy, and fun. I have to say that this is the perfect last minute gift. It took me I'd say literally 4 hours to complete the pair. Instant gratification at it's finest.

The CPH is coming along pretty fast. I've completed the two fronts and one sleeve and I'm working on the second sleeve. I'm loving the yarn and the results of my knitting. I do have a question though, when should I block the pieces? Many of the stitches are still on DPNs and I'm not sure if I want to submerge my needles in water? Should I just knit the whole thing, sew it all up, then block the finished garment or should I block before I sew? I need some advice, people!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Do You Knit?

I'm sure many of you guys listen to podcast, particularly ones about knitting. One of my favorite podcast is Brenda Dayne's Cast On.

I love the show because she just has a soothing voice. I usually fast foward thru the music, but I love the stories and ideas that she shares with thousands of people (in one episode she said she got over 7000 downloads. Now whether those are all unique, we may never know). Usually I agree with her on a lot of issues when it comes to the fiber arts but there is just one thing that I and Brenda do not agree on.

Brenda sees knitting as a form of fighting mass production, a component of post-modern western civilization that shuns creativity and supports conformity. In Brenda's mind, all knitters are saying "Fuck You" to clothing manufacturers when they pick up their needles and create something unique with their hands. The only problem is, though, is that I don't think all knitters like to knit for this reason. If anything, a substantial amount of knitters knit in order to create items that they saw in a store.

Let's think about it. Would you waste your time knitting this and then actually wear it, or would you want to dedicate your free time to something more tasteful like this? For me, knitting isn't about being off the wall. It's about making stuff that me and my loved ones would actually wear. Besides, in my opinion, true creativity is a delicate balance between novelty and usefulness. Something is not creative if it is useless and this new "surprise" from Knitty is just that -- useless.


Lately, I've been enjoying the process in knitting more than the actual stuff. I had to say that because when I started to knit, I was a full fledged product knitter. I knitted because I wanted sweaters that fit me, cool accesories and the handmade gifts for my friends. Now, however, school and work really stress me out, to the point where I was breaking down in the shower crying this past Tuesday (wow, I just got very personal with you guys). Knitting means so much more to me now that I don't have much time to do it anymore. And because my knitting time is very limited nowadays, I appreciate knitting so much more than I did when I first entered the craft 2 years ago. If I wasn't a knitter, I don't know what I'd do with myself nor my free time. What I do know is that if I were not a knitter, my life would be something not like it is right now. That scares me. Thankfully, knitting has helped me create the life that I want to live. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

FO Central

So here are some pics of my finished projects:

The satchel is not sewn up yet but in my mind, it's done. The scarf is definetely done. I accidently knitted only 9 of the 10 required repeats of the pattern, and my type A personality wanted to rip the bind off and continue, but my boyfriend reassured me that the scarf looked fine and did not need anymore alteration. That's good, because I have more interesting things to knit:

I finally got the back done sunday night and I'm flying up the left side. This knit is surprisingly fast. Hopefully I'll have the two fronts done this week and start the sleeves this weekend.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lacy Finds

Thank you everyone for the advice on lace knitting. After careful thought, I decided to go with the Swallowtail Shawl (the 10th photo on page) in the current issue of Interweave Knits.

So this past Saturday night, after I went to this fabulous Indian restaurant with my boyfriend and his brother to celebrate my boyfriend's 27th brithday, we headed over to my favorite place to get lost in, Barnes & Nobles and picked up this bad boy:

Truthfully, I've been eyeing it ever since it came out. But I waited because I had already gotten several magazines of the season, (Vogue Knitting Fall 2006, Knit It Fall 2006, KnitScene Fall 2006), all containing projects I want to knit in the future. But now that I think about it, there are a lot of projects in IK this Fall that I would love to knit and eventually wear.

I really like magazines. They are really economical, especially if you subscribe. You get (excuse my french but) ASS-LOADS of patterns from top designers for a fraction of the cost of buying a book that costs 4 maybe even 5 times the price and only has 1 or 2 things you like. If you only like 1 or 2 things in a magazine, it's not as wasteful of a buy than if you liked 1 or 2 things in a book. But I digress.

Of all the patterns in this current issue, I was not at all interested in the shawl until someone pointed me to this finished one. He is something with that camera, isn't he? His picture made the lace look ever more tempting to knit. That picture evoked so many euphoric emotions in me. I wanted to eat the damn thing for goodness sakes (I say that because I LOVE food). May I be bold in saying that Interweave should really hire him to do their photography? I swear their sales would more than double if he was the photographer of their already wonderful magazine.

So when I go home, I read thru the pattern (becuase when it comes to my knitting, I don't like surprises, or rather the unpleasant surprises). Then I ran into a problem with all the charts (I prefer my knitting pattern in words, not charts). After careful review, however, I finally figured it out, and now I can cast on without worry.

No, I haven't started yet. I'm so focused on the CPH that I haven't been knitting anything else (well, when I'm home at least. I still have a sock for boring classes). But, when I do start, I'll make sure to update you guys.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What I've Been Doing

It seems as if everyone is knitting the CPH. You got to check out Meg's and Gray's CPHs. They both use different colors than what I'm using but they are still very unique and beautiful.

As for my CPH, progress is slow. I don't have a picture yet. I haven't even measured the thing, but I think I'm halfway up the back. School this past weekend proved to be a vacuum of knitting time. Thankfully the forecast for this weekend is looking at clear time for hours and hours of knitting fun!


This part unfortunately has no pictures. I finished my Wavy and failed at felting my Satchel fully. So this weekend, I will try again with the felting.

More Christmas Knitting

So with two Christmas gifts done, I'm thinking about what I should do for my mother. Back in August, I went to Stitches Midwest and bought some really nice alpaca I believe in a sock or DK weight. It is a natural cream color and gloriously soft. I have over 675 yards of it. I'm thinking maybe I should make my mother something lacy like a shawl. This would be my first lacy project ever. I've knit lace patterns before in socks and vests but never a real lace shawl.

So here are the questions: Is alpaca ideal for a first lace project? Do I have enough yarn to make a substantially sized shawl? Do you guys have suggestions for a pattern? Can I really make a lace shawl in 2 months? Should I just stick to something small like gloves or mittens but still incorporate a lace pattern?

I hope that you guys would be able to help me. Have fun at Rhinebeck those that are going. I'll try and make the trip next year when I have more time and money to do so.

As always, Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Chicago, Shakespeare and Yarn

This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to watch a production of Shakespeare's Hamlet performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Really, it was a requirement of one of my classes to go see this play. I'm glad I went. I've read some of Shakespeare's other plays like Macbeth and have seen numerous movies based in his plays (10 Things I Hate About You for example is a modern twist on Taming of the Shrew a comedy). One of my goals in life is to read more of Shakespheare's plays and possibly watch more of his plays being performed live every once in awhile.

So what does a knitter with 2 hours of free time before a play starts do in a city she's never been before? She finds a yarn store and buys something! Here's what I got:

Both are cascade yarns. I could not resist the blood redness of the 2 balls above. I'm planning on making some fingerless gloves or maybe even some mittens but whatever this becomes, it has to have cables! The pink yarn was an impulse buy. I got it because I simply loved the color. In fact I love all bright and bold colors like eggplant purple, lime green, dark navy, cheerful yellow, and or course my favorite blood red. My stash reflects this eclectic taste in colors and I'm happy with it.

The name of the store that I got the yarn from is Loopy Yarns. The owner was a cheerful woman who complemented the scarf I was wearing (flattery is a good way to sell yarn BTW). The store is cozy filled with tons of yarns not available at my LYS (like Lorna's Laces). I think if I get to go back to Chicago again, I will head over to Loopy Yarns anyday (even if they aren't open so I could marvel at the beautiful fibers).

How Smart Am I?
Yesterday on the bus ride to Chicago, I bought my Wavy scarf to work on. When I pulled it out of my bag, I was all ready to go when I realized that I had forgotten the pattern in my apartment. I cursed under my breath for a moment seeing that I didn't have a back up project. So I did something pretty advanced to my standards. I had remembered the first 8 rows of the pattern and so counted my rows and then read my stitches. I read where all the purls went and where all the knits went. After about 20 minutes of this, I had written out what I thought my pattern would have said. Lo and behold, I figured out the pattern just by reading the stitches on the scarf. My plan worked! Knitting on the bus was smooth after that.

I mentioned this story to you guys because what I did amazed me. After 2 years and 3 months of being a knitter, I was astonished to discover how advanced I've become. Not to big myself up but I'm still patting myself on the back for what I did yesterday on a rickety old school bus (fortunately it wasn't a "cheese bus" as we say in New York City, but everything about the bus including all the bouncing and hard upright seats were the same).

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever done something so spectacular that it amazes you how talented of a knitter you are? Let me know.


The freak hail/snow storm that has hit Michigan today is making me want to knit even more hats, socks, and scarves to combat winter chill. I wish I were knitting the Central Park Hoodie as fast as this blooger, but I had many mid-terms to study for this week. I will work on the hoodie this weekend and hopefully have some pictures to show you guys next week.

So from me to you, happy knitting everyone!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Love My LYS!

This past Saturday after a 4-hour long study session in the library, I headed over to my LYS. The name of the store is Ivelise's Yarn Shop and it's been there for over 43 years! The owner, and woman named Ivelise, is from Cuba (must have came to the USA before Castro was made president/dictator of Cuba) and is turning 82 in a few months! The store is very spacious with a funny and helpful staff and a big table in the middle of it so that people could sit and knit and be merry. The majority of the customers are women (the only men I've ever seen in the store were my boyfriend who is a knitter and a repairman), and the yarns are beautiful. The store doesn't charge for lessons or offer classes that you would have to pay for, from what I understand (but I've never been interested in sitting in on a knitting lesson anyway). The prices are pretty reasonable and the atmosphere is relaxing.

But the reasons above are not why I continue to buy from this store. Yeah the prices are fair but I could get better deals online for many of the yarns my LYS carries (I could even get free shipping at some websites). Also there is the fact that the Internet offers more variety than any one brick and mortar store can give you simply because you have access to more than one venue online. There's also a ton of great free patterns to choose from online and all you got to do is sit naked (or dressed whichever you prefer) in front of your computer and click around for a couple minutes. The possibilities are somewhat endless on the Internet when it comes to knitting.

Still, there is just something about a brick and mortar store that you can't get from a online one. For example, one to one advice. On the Internet, you're not guaranteed that you'll find the info that you'll need (or correct information for that matter). A book store filled with knitting books is just as confusing seeing that you would have to thumb thru each and every technique book about knitting till you found your problem and solution to it. The only thing that would guarantee that you get the best solution to your problem is going to an expert and physical knitting stores are chock full of them.

There's also the social aspect of knitting that I'm just in love with. Blogs are great for getting to know perfect strangers through the eyes of our craft but there's nothing like actually seeing another person knit in front of you. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only person in the world that's obsessed with knitting.

In my opinion, physical yarn stores will never be fully replaced by virtual ones. I think of it this way: people still live in physical houses, though we are knee deep in the Internet era of the world. People aren't going to stop building supermarkets just because everyone is buying their groceries online (at least I don't think). People aren't going to stop living in physical houses and replace them with virtual homes on the Internet (they'd have a vitual home but they wouldn't have a bed to sleep in or a toliet to piss in). And yeah maybe one day we can all do our shopping online but vendors must have a physical address to send them to. The day you can send a mattress to, is the day that all physical stores, including those that sell yarn, will no longer exist.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Lonely Sock Gains a Partner

Here's a little magic trick.

One Sock

*Poof* Two Socks

I got around to grafting the toe yesterday in chapel (I attend a religious university, click here if you are interested in knowing more about it). I am very happy with the results. The short row toes and heels hug my feet in all the right places. I plan on making more socks this way in the future.

I've been reading around on the Blogsphere lately a substantial amount of knit bloggers are writing about their "Sock History" (the two I've found most interesting can be found here and here. I won't go into mine here, seeing that 4 pairs socks in 2 years of being a knitter won't be interesting content for this blog. I do, however, have a question that maybe you guys could help me with. Is it necesssary to block socks like you would a sweater and if so when is it appropiate to do so? I know that many people have professional sock shapers or even cheap homemade ones made out of metal hangers but I'm not sure if that is what I should be doing too. Any answers? I would really like to know.

Q & A

Nik asked me in the comments of my last post what type of Addi Turbos I would like to own one day. To answer that question, to start I'm not very sure. I already have a wide assortment of needles. Most of my straight needles were bought while I was studying in Argentina back in 2005, while the majority of my DPNs are Clover brand bamboo bought in the USA. My Circs are also all from the USA and they too cover a wide gamut of sizes and materials. I guess if I had to choose, I'd take the mid range needles of 7 US -- 9 US. I prefer to work with DPNs when it comes to small knits like socks, wrist warmers, and hats because they feel more comfortable in my hands than circular needles.

Weekend Plans

So next Monday and Tuesday I'm off from school. This just means that I'll have more time to do all of the homework that my teachers have assigned me for next week. Though I will be pretty busy with school, I am going to start swatching for the Central Park Hoodie, regardless of how much or how little homework I get done this weekend.

I've also been commissioned to knit for money! A friend of mine said she wanted some wrist warmers, so I agreed and we worked out the details this past week. She said that she didn't care to get them ASAP but I'm going to try and fit it into my schedule so I can get it to here within a week or 2.

I don't plan on knitting for money often anytime soon. I much prefer to teach a man how to fish than to give him what he needs for that day. Last year when I had more time, I hosted a knitting class and told people that wanted hand knits had to learn how to knit because my time was way more valuable than their money.

I finally broke down when a girl asked me to knit her 2 scarves over spring break last March. I knitted them out of chunky wool and she paid me $40. Not too bad for a first transaction. Now that I have bills and rent to pay, maybe doing some knitting for money isn't looking too bad afterall. What do you guys think? Would you knit for money if you needed some extra cash? If so, would you use the best materials possible or would you try and get cheap materials to make maximum profits? It's not like many non-knitters know the difference between acrylic and wool, right?

Anyway, I'll have more for you next week. Until then, happy knitting everyone!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Look At What I Got!

It’s only been about a week since I’ve last posted but it seemed like such an eternity. Life is hectic but my knitting, surprisingly, is not suffering. Look what I got in the mail yesterday:

A lovely 7 skeins of Donegal Tweed from WEBS! When I first saw this:

I knew I had to do it but after seeing the price tag on the yarn, I hesitated. Then I realized last week Sunday that I did have sufficient funds to buy this stuff so I got my ass over to WEBS and got the goods.

When I received the yarn yesterday, I was so happy with the outcome. The yarn is more rustic than baby soft but is not at all itchy like Lopi. Still, a thought came to my head that I wanted to share with you guys.

As a college knitter, I would love to be able to knit with really expensive yarns like Rowan, Debbie Bliss, and Jo Sharp on a regular basis. These yarns are kind of like Banana Republic or J Crew: nice to look at and fondle but definitely something I can’t afford right now (unless there is some crazy sale going on somewhere for them). So I stick to KnitPicks and sales at my LYS. Not to say that KnitPicks is of bad quality. To me it's like Old Navy or H & M: good enough quality for everyday use and not very expensive. Sometimes, though, you just want to wear/knit something special like Gedifra or Alchemy or Elisabeth Lavold.

My cheap attitude toward my craft has sometimes cost me time and energy, especially when it comes to my tools (needles, stitch markers, measuring tape, etc.). For example, I have a tendency to get Bamboo needles because they are not too expensive but get the job done. However they are annoying when you use a sticky yarn. I would love to own more Addi Turbos (over the two years I’ve been knitting, I’ve acquired 2) but they are so darn expensive. So I wait.

In reality, I’m more fortunate than many people out in the world who don’t have the luxury of spending their money/time on extracurricular activities like knitting. They have to work, feed their families, and pay rent. I do all those things but not with the same urgency that many other people who don’t even have time to relax do.

So when I was deciding whether to get the Donegal Tweed or not, I felt a bit guilty. Guilty because I felt as if I was being extravagant and was wasting my money. Now, I justify my act by saying that I waited 2 whole months before I bought the stuff. I really want that sweater and knitting it will be a whole lot of fun. I guess in the end, one should not feel guilty for buying stuff that they feel is too expensive if they have the money to buy it. It’s good to save money and buy from here or here but it’s okay to buy from here and here once in awhile so that life (and your knitting) does not get boring.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Turning a New Leaf

After I posted on Thursday, I realized how much of a complainer I am. I realized that doing that on the blog wouldn't be good reading for you guys on a daily basis. So I've decided to stick to what I love more than anything in the world -- Knitting.

FO's and New Book

I finally finished one side of these rainbow socks I've been working on this past week. I took a picture of them but my computer is not recognizing my camera and so just pretend you see a simple stockinette, short row heel and toe sock in Lorna's Laces Rainbow colorway.

I tell you, knitting this thing during boring/useless classes really made a difference in how quickly the sock was going to be finished. It fits like a dream.

I've also gotten a new book to read (like I need anything more to read right now!). It was written by this broad and you can buy it here if you like.

So far the book seems to be pretty funny. I still think she's a little crazy but I like the fact that I'm supporting this woman and her yarn habit by buying her books. One day, I too hope to be able to earn money just for being who I am and have people pay me for it.

Other knits

No progress on the red vogue socks yet. They require alot of attention to detail and right now I like the simplicity of stockinette. In addition to what I said about not being able to knit as much last Thursday, it is also because I have so many half way done projects that all need tending to and I only get a row or two in before it's time for bed at night. Seeing that most of them are stuff for me, I'm in no rush to finish them. Two of my many projects are gift knits, though, for this Christmas. Fortunately, a 4 day long break is coming soon at school and I plan to use it not only to catch up on homework but you guessed it, knitting!

This Weekend

In not so knitty news, I got all of my homework done yesterday! Now I don't think I did some of it correctly but the fact of the matter is that it is done. I am so proud of myself! I haven't been getting anything done lately, and finally I decided that if I discipline myself enough, I can get everything I need to get done in the time alloted to me. Besides. We all got 24 hours in a day. It's what we chose to do with those 24 hours that make the difference.

It's Fall Baby!

Before I was a knitter, I use to hate cold weather with a passion. I think it was because I probably wasn't properly dressed for the cold. I was wearing store bought acrylic crap sweaters and wondered why everything was cold. Now I'm excited it's Fall in Michigan because now I can wear the stuff I make! For those of you that hate cold weather, turning a new leaf is sometimes a good thing!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why I Don't Get Much Knitting Done Anymore

Yesterday, I realized why I haven't been getting much knitting done lately. It's my job! Let me explain.

Back in May, I used to work at a call center in which people would call in for a "free offer" that they saw on a program of one of the organizations that we serviced. My job was the perfect example of outsourcing because the organizations that we serviced could not afford to have their programs and support a full fledge call center to answer their viewers' questions or give them a free offer. So they paid us to do it for them so that they wouldn't have to worry about equipment and employees and budgets.

Sundays were our busiest days (it was a religious call center) so we'd always be talking on the phone in whatever language we knew how (We received alot of spanish/french/portugues speaking callers. Ocassionally we'd get people from Europe or Africa too). During the week, however, it wouldn't be as busy but I still had to work. So I would have 3-4 hour shifts every other day and pick up some hours on Saturday and just knit and knit and knit because barely anyone was calling.

It was great having a job that I could knit for hours on end, do homework or whatever else that needed to get done in my life. My last job I was allowed to multitask my responsibilities, just as long as when the phone rang, I answered it according to protocol. And though my Sundays were pretty much taken away from me (my shift was 11:30 am to 5:30 pm), I still loved it for the fact that I could do what I wanted if call volume was down.

This past June I took a job working at a shipping warehouse and now I don't even have time to take a shower some days! The job requires me to be fast, efficient, and focused. I can't do anything else but work. I can't do my homework, can't write articles for the school newspaper, and worse, can't knit as much as I did before. That's why I didn't post on Monday like I said I would last week Thursday. I was too busy doing homework! I did get some knitting done but not enough to show you guys my progress.

Though I'm terribly busy this semester, there are some benefits to this crazy life that I live. For one I am ever more grateful to be alive. Seeing that I don't have much free time anymore, literally every minute counts. Time is so much more valuable to me than ever before.

It's hard trying to get your life in order when all you want to do is knit, but that is what this college student will have to do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm Still Here

I feel somewhat bad because I've been neglecting this blog lately. I'm just so busy with school and work that my knitting time has been cut greatly and as a result I don't have much progress to show you guys today. This weekend looks promising, however, as I do see some free time opening up. In the mean time, I got a test to fail tomorrow, 2 articles to review and a quiz today. Life as a student isn't hard, just busy.


So remember these socks?

I finished them prematurely because I felt like they were taking ages to be done (ribbing on the leg of 10 stitch to the inch socks gets pretty boring). I don't have a picture of it but I don't think you want to see it. It's either I didn't follow the pattern properly or the pattern is written poorly. Either way the socks are too big for my feet. At first I was contemplating on making it's partner and giving the pair away as a gift to someone I loved. However, after thinking about it, I realized that I deserved the socks and could not part with the beautiful yarn (no matter how much it bleeds in a bath). So I was flipping through the new vogue yesterday and there was my pattern right in my face. Here's a picture:

Now when I got the issue back in August, the first time I saw the socks it reminded me of Pomatomus but I thought that the pattern would be easier to follow. After actually reading the pattern I found out that I was right on gauge for this project (which doesn't happen very often. I think I knit too loosely or something). I haven't ripped out the other side but I've still started this sock and I will show you guys some progress pictures (if there is any) by next week.

If you've been living under a rock for the past week, the new Knitty is up. Many of the patterns look beautiful yet fun to knit. I'm very interested in the skirt, the man sweater for my boyfriend and the little toddler sweater for my twin nephews. Serrano is gourgeous but I don't have the guts to knit an adult sweater on such small gauge (the pattern calls for size 2.5 US needles). Besides it is my belief that knitting anything more than socks on small gauge is foolish. I'd rather buy the sweater if the gauge will be that small than knit it myself and risk mental insanity.

My only complaint, I guess, would be the designer of the cover sweater. Suss Cousins is pretty famous for her yarn store in Hollywood, her line of yarns, and her many pattern books. I'm not complaining about the design of the sweater she created. I think it's beautiful and used nice lines that would flatter most figures. What I'm complaining about is Knitty's somewhat visible move from using "unknown knit bloggers" to big time knit pattern producers. Knitty when it started was seen as this haven for inexperienced pattern designers to come in and get some clout for their designs. I guess in a way the knitting community has "grown up" and we're more concerned with celebrity than quality, just like the rest of the world's population.

Lately I've been dabbling in some designing without much success. I always dream about having a really cool pattern to submit to Knitty but with Suss Cousins and other more "famous knit bloggers" on the scene, I'm afraid that little old me won't even make a splash in the water.

Despite the notion that a pattern that I make may never grace the pages of Knitty, all and all this issue of looks pretty promising with lots of classic type items I'm sure the online knitting community will enjoy.

So what do you plan on knitting from Knitty this fall?

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Familiar Feeling

Sunday was a cold and miserable day in Michigan. The sky was dark and dreary and for the first time in months my boyfriend had to put on the heat in his apartment. It became so cold that I had to slip these on my feet:

This is my first pair of real socks that I knitted for myself last winter. The yarn is from KnitPicks (which I think is discontinued last time I checked the website) and knitting these was so much fun. I was trying to knit some Jaywalkers (no need to link; I think you guys have seen enough of them) but I wasn't getting the right gauge. So I found this one sock pattern at this website that appeared like the stitch pattern of the Jaywalker socks and I casted on. It took me a week to finish the pair. I was so happy to try on the socks and they fitted perfectly.

Today when I placed the socks on my feet again, all the familiar memories of warmth on my feet in the coldest of temperatures that Michigan had to offer, having my friends envy my handiwork, and the comfort of hand knit socks came flooding back in my brain. It was a good feeling. Putting on those socks was like taking a relaxing bath with candles and nice bubble bath, like sipping on a cup of hot chocolate on a quiet afternoon or enjoying a candlelight dinner at a fine restaurant. It was soothing and beautiful.

Does that ever happen to you? Do the memories of things you've knitted come back to you whenever you put them on? Are they good memories? I hope so because whatever I knit for myself that I don't like ends up being a gift for someone else to enjoy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Something to Contemplate on

I know that much of my content lately hasn't been about knitting but the information I have for you today was too good for me to keep to myself. My mother sent me this powerpoint presentation a couple weeks ago. I thought it was good enough to share with you guys. Here is what it said:

Instructions for Life

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three R’s:
Respect for self
Respect for others and
Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a
wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate
steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for
your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the
current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your
love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Think about these things as you knit or spin or do whatever it is that makes you happy this weekend.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Sad Realization


These first 2 weeks of school have been very hectic for me. Mainly because I like to make things seem worse than they really are. After writing everything that I needed to get done on paper and working out my schedule in my head yesterday, I realized that I would have enough time to do everything I needed to do and not much time to do anything that I wanted to do, including knitting (yeah, I was crying too!).

This past Monday I signed up to work for my student newspaper. I attend a Seventh-day Adventist school (Christian) so they have a religious section of the newspaper and the editor wanted me to be in charge of it. I agreed to it. Though I have to admit that I’m not a very religious person, I had a lot of ideas to write about concerning religion and I figured that the job wouldn’t be too hard. Plus getting paid was a nice bonus (extra cash baby!). Then Tuesday came along and everything changed. On Tuesday I had to drop a class I didn't need and ended up picking up another 400 level history course. The class is not difficult at all. In fact it's pretty simple. We read almost 30 pages every 2 days, discuss what we’ve read in class and turn in some papers from time to time. Seeing that I already missed 4 classes for not being there last week, I have over 150 pages to read to catch up with the rest of the class. I like reading history so this should be fun. Unfortunately I'm going to have to drop the newspaper job if I plan on doing well in school.

So I feel somewhat guilty for agreeing to a position on Monday that I can't do anymore. I know how the editor will feel when I tell him the bad news. I was an editor twice in my life (once in high school for a print newspaper and once in college for a website). I know how it feels to depend on someone to do something for you and they drop out on you, not caring about the outcome.

My problem is that I think I'm superwoman. I think that could do everything that I want to do in a day. I told myself that I could work on the newspaper on Mondays, do my research on the weekends, get my homework done on in the morning, go to work at night, hang out with my friends, call my family up and still have time to knit and blog about it. Lately, however, its been getting really busy at the job and now we’re getting out at midnight or 12:30 am instead of 11:30 pm. This means that my sleep and eating schedule will be thrown off and life will become more hectic for me.

It was yesterday that my perception of myself being superwoman died. The dark cloud of reality slowly came over me and I realized that I work now. My school is way more important to me than ever before and now that I take care of myself, I can't be playing around.

So today I'm going to my editor's office and tell him the truth. That way I'll have more time for school, work, and of course knitting and this blog.

I'm not looking for sympathy today. I just like writing my thoughts down so that they are more organized in my head and I could sort them out easier.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Out of Touch

It has been almost a week since I posted anything. I've just been so busy with school and work. I wish I had more time to work on this blog and knit but I simply don't right now. It's only the second week of school and already I'm stressed and have no time for anything.

Thankfully I've been knitting on my socks. I decided to give the surprise Knitty pattern a try. Here's my progress:

This is just sock number 1. The sock is simple stockinette in the foot and a 4 x 2 rib on the leg (cause stockinette gets so boring after awhile). So far I am satisfied with the results and now I am able to boast that I have the technique of a short row heel and toe under my belt.

My other knitting projects have fell to the wayside for now mainly because they aren't portable. Once I get my life under control, I will be working on them more often at home.

Resurgence of Knitting

Now that Labor Day has come and gone in the good ol’ US of A, it is now prime knitting season. Thank God! It was a pretty lazy summer and cotton and silk blends aren't my favorite materials to knit with. I love the new styles and current trends like cables and knitting focused on the stitch rather than the material. I remember looking at many pattern books in Argentina. Hand knit sweater are only cool because of the type of stitch you use (the more intricate the better) not the material you use (many yarns in Argentina are synthetic based or blends with synthetic materials). The trend is more comfortable than flashy, cozy not stiff and still very appealing. It should be a good time knitting this season everyone!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No Time

Yeah so it's only the 3rd day of school and I'm already stressed. Mostly it's anxiety over failing all of my classes this semester. I have this one history class that all I have to do is write a 20-page research paper. Easy right? Not when you are only allowed to use Primary sources (diaries, journals, government documents, statistics from the era you're studying, etc.) I've never done anything like this before and I am so scared I'm going to fail. The teacher said that we were going to have to give in 3 rough drafts before we even turn in the final draft. Thankfully this is the only course this semester that I see lowering my GPA. And I was hoping to get Magna Cum Laude (did I spell that right, oh well no time!)

On the knitting front I've hadn't had much time to work on the yellow and gray stripped messenger bag but I have been walking around with my socks to knit during non-important classes. I tried on the sock Sunday morning and realized that it was too small for my feet. I had only about 3 1/2 inches of work so I ripped it out and decided to jump into this new technique I've never tried before.

I love the results. I would post a picture but it is at my apartment and I'm at my boyfriend's house writing this. But I have to tell you that there is some kind of wonder doing a short row toe. When I was done with it (after the 3rd try) I was hooked on toe up socks. I think if the sock goes well I will be exclusively doing toe up socks from then on. The coolest thing I noticed about the short row tow is that it is the same exact thing as the short row heel; it's just that one is knitted in a different direction than the other.

I'll post again on Friday when I have all but 1 class in the morning and work in the afternoon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Koigu: The Louis Vuitton of Knitting

Yesterday's comments were pretty interesting. For the most part the majority of you do not share your blogs with people that were in your life prior to the blog. This is very understandable. Most people don't care enough about knitting like we do to actually start a blog and post pictures of our FO's so that perfect strangers can come and see them and leave comments about them. I see blogs as a great way for people who feel "singled out" in their own world to reach out and find people just like them so that they don't feel as weird. Like anyone on the planet earth, we knitters want to be apart of a group too and if that means going on the Internet and sharing our lives with others through the art of knitting, so be it.

Koigu: The Louis Vuitton of Knitting

Yesterday in the comments, Saun wanted to know what the yarn that started with a "K" was? Well that "K" is for Koigu. A yarn that I will NEVER USE EVER! Now I've never worked with the stuff before but from what I've heard in bloglines it doesn't seem like that great of a yarn. Here is a list of reasons why I will NEVER use this yarn

1) Expense -- As a college student I can't afford this yarn. Then again anyone with a normal 9 to 5 can't afford this yarn either! Though the retail price is about $10 according to this website, many vendors are selling the KPPM sock yarn for at least $12.25. With only 175 yards per skein you're paying about $25 for a pair of socks. This is great for a once in a while sock knitter but for you knitters who only knit socks, using this yarn exclusively will one day force you to loose all of your savings and end up on the side of the road with a sign that says, "Will Work For Koigu".

2) The Feel -- When I started to learn how to knit, I worked with crappy acrylic that I got from Wal-Mart. After discovering that I had a LYS not too far away from my Local Wal-Mart I decided to start buying yarn from there. Two years later, I am a complete yarn snob (and damn proud of it too!). Now I still use acrylic when I knit to get paid for it but for things I knit for myself or for close families and friends, I use natural fibers. This is because natural fibers are usually softer than acrylic, more durable and simply more luxurious.

I can't say the same thing about this Koigu KPPM yarn. When I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival last weekend I found some skeins of Koigu sock yarn in a woman's booth. Influenced by the rave reviews I read in blogs on the Internet, I was drawn to the brilliant colors. Then I touched it and it didn't feel as soft as I expected. Then the proprietress of the store told me that there was a pair of socks on the table right next to me knitted using the Koigu. The pattern could be found here.

I picked up the socks and they were hard as nails. It wasn't scratchy against my neck but it wasn't inviting either. I threw the socks back on the table knowing why I haven't bought this stuff yet.

3) Availability -- This yarn seems to be hard to come by. Practically everyone who is a sock knitter in Blog Land is always waiting for his or her LYS to get a shipment of the yarn. You don't know when it's coming or if they'll have any colors that you like sent to your store. The waiting time for this yarn is ridiculous. No wonder Koigu has been able to keep their prices up. Low supply and high demand keep prices up my friends.

4) Their Website -- This is what the Koigu website looks like. The website turns me off complete from this yarn company. It's completely disgusting and unprofessional looking. Why would I support a company that doesn't even have the time to build a proper website? They could at least higher someone to maintain it for them.

In conclusion, I am totally biased to Koigu. I compare it to designer handbags. Louis Vuitton is a major producer of designer bags. My mother is a faithful fan of their products. She has purchased numerous handbags, wallets and some pairs of shoes from Louis Vuitton. One of these shoes was a $500 pair of sandals. There were a simply mule with a metal gold colored strap and brown leather for the foot. I have to admit they were nice (sorry no picture). We went to dinner one night in a fancy restaurant for her birthday and she wore the shoe. A couple steps out the door and the strap that kept the shoes on your foot broke. Did I mention that was her second time wearing the shoes? $500 wasted. Thankfully she returned them and got her money back. But instead of writing off all the products of the company as low quality when compared to the price, she still continues to buy merchandise from Louis Vuitton. That's when I realized that my mother is more obsessed with the label that is Louis Vuitton than the actual stuff that they sell.

Knitters, especially ones that have blogs are influenced by fads all the time. A good example is that this coming fall cable knit anything will be the thing to wear. Why do you think Vogue Knitting and Knit Scene Magazine and other publications have patterns filled with cables in them? And why do you think that knitters all across Blog Land now want to learn how to make cables? It's all about trends and staying up to the times.

Other examples of fad knitting are Clapotis and the amount of Jaywalkers you see on bloglines (I won’t even link to these, you guys seen enough of those).

It's the same with Koigu. Koigu is no better than Trekking XXL or Knit Picks Essentials sock yarn. In fact I would say the latter 2 are a better value, quality yarn. Yes Koigu is hand dyed and you have to pay for the work the designer did to hand paint each and every skein but if hand dyed yarn is what you want, why not support one of our own Knit Bloggers who sell hand dyed yarns (like this one and this one) or go over to Etsy and get some great deals for some truly unique yarns.

Many knitters are anti-establishment out there but many more of us are really just as into the trends as the next person. In my opinion, Koigu is the Louis Vuitton of knitting. A overly priced yarn that is no better quality than it's cheaper counterparts.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Secret Blogger

So as I was waking up this morning I was thinking about what I should write about today on the blog. I thought I could be angry and rant a bit about a particular yarn craze that I don't get (just a little clue the yarn I speak of starts with a K). I thought maybe I could show you guys some progress pictures but my knitting hasn't been much to talk about lately. Then I thought of writing something that I've been wondering about for a while.

How Many People Know About Your Blog

I don't mean the people that you have met through the blog. I mean people like family and friends type people. These are the people that you can actually touch and see in front of you on a regular basis. We knit bloggers only see each other thru our pictures that we post and our words that we write. On the Internet we can create whatever type of persona we want just as long as it is truthful and/or not harming anyone.

For me blogging is like a secret activity. Only 2 people know about this blog within my group of friends. They are my boyfriend and his brother. This is because I don't have Internet connection in my apartment but they do. So all those pictures of a white carpet and a blue couch filled with yarn in past posts have all been taken in his house. My apartment is a small basement studio with dark (sometimes damp) carpet, a kitchen and a bathroom. Perfect for me but not perfect for knit blogging.

So are you the kind of knit blogger that tells everyone in their circle of friends "Hey I just posted something new and I would like for you to read it!" or are a secret knit blogger who enjoys writing her/his posts in the dark corners of their house, living a secret life on the Internet?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happily Relaxed

So I had another great weekend with fiber this time with my boyfriend. We headed up to Allegan, MI for the Michigan Fiber Festival. We didn't take any pictures but we did get a lot of stuff. I'll show those pictures tomorrow. Afterward we went out to eat for my birthday. On Sunday we went to the mall and walked around doing nothing all day. It was great! I'm still not in "during the week/stressed out" mode this morning because the weekend was so stress-less. I'm lovin' it!

This past weekend just reminded me of how stressful a life we Americans live. We’re not stressed over bombs dropping on our homes but some are stressed over terrorist attacks in their neighborhoods. We’re not stressed over Tsunamis happening in our backyards but we do worry too much over other natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina happening again. These fears are very real and can lead us to live on the edge. But being stressed all the time can really hurt you and not just emotionally or mentally but physically too!

There are many diseases (anxiety, depression) and common day ailments like heart burn, chest pains, high blood pressure, weight loss/gain, tension headaches even hair loss that have something to do with stress (read more about stress here). That’s why I think it is appropriate to suggest to everyone that when life gets stressful, just take a few minutes to breath calmly. Sometimes even your knitting can stress you out so I say put it down for a moment and do something else that relaxes you. This could be cooking, reading, doing complex math or watching junk food TV (you know the type, VH1, reality shows, stuff that's completely useless). Whatever it is that helps you relax more often, DO IT . Your entire body’s health is at risk if you don’t!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy Knitter has a Father with New Book on Horizon

Thanks everybody for the warm birthday wishes. I really did have a good day yesterday. Even though I had to work for most of my birthday, my supervisor sang happy birthday to me on the loud PA system we have at my job and many of my co-workers gave me hugs and well wishes too. My friends all the way in Argentina remembered my birthday and sent me an e-mail wishing me Happy Birthday while my sister sent me an e-card. My mother called too.

The most surprising was my father who called all the way from Guyana to wish me happy birthday. In my mind I know that my relationship with my father isn't as strong as it is with my mother due to the fact that he pretty much neglected me as a child. We all lived in the same house but we barely talked outside of allowance and "What did you do at school today?" Now that I think about it and look back at all those times he asked me that question, he was trying to get me to open up to him. He really did care but I was too young or blind to understand. As an adult I’ve realized that we all will die some day and a better relationship with my father has become even more important to me. That’s why it made me happy to talk to my old man yesterday.

Yarn Play

So yesterday as I was surfing new blogs, I happened to find this one. After reading through some of her posts I realized that she designed the Big Bad Baby Blanket found in Debbie Stoller's first Stitch 'N Bitch (Do I really have to link to this? As knitters we should all know about these patterns and the controversy behind them all). She has also done some other work for Vickie Howell and now is venturing off to make her own pattern book. The book is called YarnPlay and based on the cover the patterns inside look promising. The book is set to be release this September. In the mean while for those of you that are interested, you can reserve your copy at this fine online establishment or wait till your LYS has the book for sale. Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

Weekend Plans

So this weekend I’m off to the Michigan Fiber Festival with my boyfriend. I’ll report back to you guys on Monday hopefully with pictures too.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Special Day

So 22 years ago on this day, I was born. The exact time was 5:38 am. The location was Brooklyn, NYC. The parents were immigrants from a small English speaking country in South America named Guyana.

Some how I can't believe that I've made it this far. Some of you may think, "Oh you're such a baby, Kelly!" but I think that 22 is a pretty long time. I’ve done a lot of things in the 22 years that I’ve been living. I've been to exotic lands and dealt with small-minded people. I've accomplished so much and failed many times more. I've done stupid things and ended up being lucky sometimes. I've fell in love, got my heart broken, and went through many disappointments and triumphs. What astonishes me is that after all of that crap, after all of the bullshit, I'm still standing. I'm still here.

Everyone seems to reflect on their lives when they reach a birthday. I've done the same thing this morning. Concerning the past, seeing that I can't change my mistakes, I won't. All I could do is look forward, set goals, and execute my plans.

When I turned 21 last year, though the law of the land said I was an adult (well really it’s 18, but that’s not the point), I really still felt like a parasite, financially draining my parents. Now that I am 22 years old, I’m on my own, supporting myself and taking on more responsibility. I'm happy to be an official adult now. Bills, rent and all!